The Taliban have started to paint over street art in Kabul while replacing it with victory slogans and Taliban flags. One of the murals that was painted over was one that depicted George Floyd with “I can’t breathe” written below. The Floyd mural was recently whitewashed and replaced with Taliban approved text.
According to The Guardian, the Floyd mural was painted by a the “Artlords” group. The group painted several murals in Afghanistan depicting events such as Taliban-Afghan government peace talks, the drowning of Afghan refugees in Iran and the killing of Japanese aid worker Tetsu Nakamura. The mural of Nakamura has also been painted over by the Taliban. “All of the murals are an extension of me, extension of Artlords and extension of the artists who worked on them,” Artlords founder Omaid Sharifi told The Guardian.
The Floyd mural was painted near Kabul’s heavily fortified green zone in June, 2020. Artlords project manager Omar Ghani said the mural was painted to “condemn global racism” and to connect George Floyd’s story with Afghan migrants. “Racism is all over the world and we need to denounce it,” said Ghani. George Floyd “can be a symbol for us, too,” said an Afghan taxi driver shortly after the mural was painted. “If someone does something bad, everyone should stand up to show that it’s wrong.”
— Omaid H. Sharifi-امید حفیظه شریفی (@OmaidSharifi) June 12, 2020
The Taliban has painted over all symbols of western influence, including most of the Artlords projects. At the U.S. embassy, the group painted a large, white Taliban flag. The U.S. spent $1.5 billion on the embassy complex before Kabul was conquered by the Islamist group.